Hello friends! Do you enjoy reading Christmas books during this season? I like reading them all year long, since they are usually in high demand at the public library during December. Since November I have been reading various Christmas fiction in order to recommend some wholesome books I hope you will enjoy. I try to stick with Christian fiction in general, because it is more wholesome than most books. However, I did venture out into non-Christian works and found some that are good reads without smut.
Sleigh Bells for Dry Creek by Janet Tronstad
This book is part one in a series, which focuses on the Stone family returning to their small Montana hometown. Gracie Stone served time in jail for murdering her husband (who was abusive). Her sons all parted ways after they aged out of foster care. Now, Gracie wants to return to her home and resume life as normal. While in prison she found God and is determined to ease back into society. Her oldest son, Wade, has returned with his mother to help her get settled, and is feeling out of place in a town that judges him and his family. Wade’s high school crush (Amy) is still in town, and they have not stopped thinking about each other during the nine years they were apart. Throughout this book Wade claims he doesn’t care what people think about his family, but he really does and can’t understand why the community won’t “forgive and forget”. Through it all, Amy stands by the Stone family.
What I liked: I liked that this is a romance, but still wholesome. There was a bit of mystery involved (which I won’t share due to it being a spoiler), but everything makes sense by the end. I had previously read all the other books in this series but somehow missed this one, so it was nice to go back and read the whole story of the Stone family from the beginning. I recommend this book for people who enjoy Christian romance stories about small towns, forgiveness, and friendship.
Christmas in Apple Ridge (3 in 1 collection) by Cindy Woodsmall
Three short stories taking place in Amish communities around Christmas time! In the first story we read about a young woman named Beth who is still grieving and feeling guilty over a past tragedy. She comes across an ornately carved scene and is determined to meet the artist. She gets more than she bargains for, and begins to wonder if she could find love again. The second story is about Mattie, who left her Amish community after her fiance ended their engagement on Christmas years ago. She returns home after an accident and comes face to face with the man who rejected her. Mattie learns the reason he did what he did, but can she forgive him and move past it? The third story focusses on Sadie and Levi, who pretend to be in a relationship so their meddling families stop pushing them to date (or court, as the Amish say).
What I liked: I enjoy Amish fiction, and these were nice stories. Cindy Woodsmall is a good writer who seems to have researched the Amish, unlike many other authors who write about them. I liked that each story was short enough to read in one sitting but still was interesting. You should read this collection if you enjoy Amish fiction!
On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts
This book is about group of women who are tired of feeling like they need to everything for Christmas without the help of their families. The women decide to simply stop doing all they usually do and let their husbands and kids take care of it. The women have various reasons for trying this experiment (to feel more appreciated; because they are tired of doing it all; etc). Eventually word spreads to the local paper and this group of ladies becomes the focus of a miniseries. Each family has it’s own issues that they end up working through because of the strike. There is an occasional swear word in the book but other than that, it is enjoyable.
What I liked: I think every woman can probably relate to feeling overwhelmed at Christmas, so I liked that this book addresses that. I found it interesting that all the woman had self imposed holiday stress, and wore themselves out because they CHOSE to, not because their families demanded it. I also liked how there were different families, but would have enjoyed reading more about each one. I liked the ending as well, and that everything was resolved. I recommend this book for any woman who feels like she needs to do it all at Christmas. It may just encourage you to reflect on WHY you do everything, how to cut back, and how to delegate.
That’s all for today! There are more books to share, but that would make for a very long post! And by the way, unlike my other reviews, this is not supported or paid for by any third party. I picked these books on my own.